An AirTag saves Christmas as stolen luggage tracked to thief's home in North Carolina

(Image credit: Apple)

Another day, another AirTag rescue story as Apple's small tracking device helped one family find their stolen luggage and another stolen suitcase this holiday season.

The Gavino family, just like millions of other Americans over the festive period, had gone on vacation within the United States, but when their Miami flight landed in the Carolinas, their luggage was nowhere to be found. 

Catherine Gavino had purchased an AirTag earlier that week to ensure she could track it down in time for the holidays if her luggage was lost. So when the suitcase never appeared at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, she knew exactly what to do.

The AirTag's location in the Find My app showed her mother and father's luggage was heading towards Gastonia, North Carolina's most populous city.

Gavino told Queen City News, "I wanted Justice," so decided to continuously check the location of the AirTag throughout the trip despite the small tracking device disappearing intermittently from the app.

A Christmas miracle

On Christmas Day, Gavino checked the Find My app once more, and found the AirTag located at a house in Gastonia.  “I told my dad who was with me, ‘Look it’s only 20 minutes, let’s swing by,’”

After arriving at the destination, Gavino called the Gastonia Police Department who not only found the Gavino family's stolen luggage but also another victim's luggage lost at the same airport.

As reported by Queen City News, there wasn't much left in the suitcase after the thief raided all of the belongings inside. “These are my parents, coming to the mountains for a North Carolina view, so for this to happen made me sad, which was all the more reason to go after them…I wouldn’t have found them without this AirTag.”

The suspect has been arrested and charged with multiple thefts and is currently held on a $10,000 bond. While the luggage wasn't found intact, this AirTag Christmas miracle is a great advertisement for Apple's incredible tracking device.

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John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself.

Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings.

John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019. 

John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.